Shopify and Weebly are two of the most popular e-commerce website builders on the market today. With easy drag-and-drop interfaces, extensive store design customization options, built-in payment processing and shipping solutions, and a wide range of apps and integrations, both platforms make it simple for entrepreneurs and small business owners to create professional online stores without needing advanced coding skills.
In this in-depth comparison article, we’ll examine the key features, advantages, disadvantages, pricing options, and overall value that Shopify and Weebly offer for building an e-commerce business. We’ll look at factors like:
- Store setup, design flexibility, and customization
- Built-in and third-party integrations
- Payment processing and shipping
- Pricing and transaction fees
- Marketing tools
- Support options
By the end, you’ll have a clear sense of which platform is the better choice for your specific e-commerce needs and budget. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to switch website builders, let’s dive in and compare Shopify vs Weebly.
Ease of Use
For most entrepreneurs starting an online business, an easy-to-use website builder is essential. You don’t want to spend all your time figuring out complicated interfaces—your focus should be on running your store. So how do Shopify and Weebly compare when it comes to usability?
Both platforms use a user-friendly drag-and-drop builder and offer hundreds of professional, customizable themes. The main dashboard shows key stats like orders, traffic, and abandoned carts. Managing products, payments, shipping, and orders are also simple point-and-click processes.
Shopify and Weebly are ideal for e-commerce beginners with no design or technical skills. However, Weebly has a slight edge for total beginners. Its interface feels a bit more intuitive, while Shopify has a steeper learning curve. But Shopify’s superior e-commerce features may justify the extra time investment.
For experienced users, Shopify offers much more advanced customization via code. Liquid code can be used to modify themes, layouts, and functionality as needed. Weebly also allows HTML/CSS editing, but the level of control doesn’t compare.
So when evaluating ease of use, both platforms cater well to e-commerce newcomers. But Weebly has a bit of an advantage for brand new beginners, while Shopify offers more customization potential for advanced users.
Store Design and Customization
Your e-commerce site’s design directly impacts conversions and sales. So what design features and customization options do Shopify and Weebly provide?
Both offer hundreds of professionally designed themes/website templates suitable for all types of e-commerce businesses. Themes include features like image sliders, call-to-action buttons, Instagram galleries, multiple page layouts, and more.
However, Shopify currently provides over 70 free and paid themes compared to Weebly’s 43. Most of Shopify’s themes are focused specifically on e-commerce, while Weebly has broader options including blogs, portfolios, and basic online stores.
When editing theme design elements, like fonts, colors images, etc., Weebly uses a simpler what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) approach. Shopify gives developers more direct code access for modifying liquid templates. But for basic changes, Shopify also has an intuitive theme editor.
Importantly, Shopify allows you to customize checkout pages with branding elements (logo, colors, etc.) But Weebly forces you to use their plain default checkout.
Overall, Shopify provides more design flexibility with far more themes to choose from, more control over code for developers, and customizable checkout pages. So it has the advantage for customizing your e-commerce site’s look and feel.
Product and Inventory Management
At the core of any online store is the product catalog and inventory system. Efficiently managing what you sell is vital for order fulfillment and avoiding overselling or stock-outs. Let’s see how Weebly and Shopify stack up when it comes to product management.
Both platforms allow you to create a centralized product database with details like descriptions, photos, variants, pricing and more. However, Shopify has significantly more options for advanced features like:
- Detailed product organization with custom collections and tags
- Advanced inventory tracking and reporting
- Automated inventory level notifications
- Dropshipping integration to fulfill orders from suppliers
- Barcode creation and management
Weebly’s inventory management is relatively simplistic. It allows manual adjusting of stock levels, but lacks automation and detailed tracking. There’s also no native dropshipping support.
When it comes to managing thousands of SKUs with large inventories, variable products, and complex supply chains, Shopify is far more robust. But for smaller catalogs of simple products, Weebly provides adequate functionality.
So Shopify easily wins for businesses needing advanced and automated product/inventory management. But Weebly covers the basics for smaller stores.
Built-in Payment and Shipping Solutions
Simplifying the checkout process is key for converting sales. That requires streamlining payment and shipping. Here’s an overview of how Shopify and Weebly stack up for built-in solutions:
Shopify Payments allows you to accept credit cards, debit cards, and mobile wallets like Apple Pay. It offers competitive transaction fees starting at 2.4% + 30¢ per transaction, with lower rates for higher volumes. No monthly fees or contracts are involved. You can also integrate external payment gateways like PayPal or Amazon Pay.
Weebly Checkout includes credit/debit card payments with Stripe. Rates start at 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction. PayPal integration is supported. A $19/month fee applies for annual subscriptions, but not monthly plans.
Both platforms include automated sales tax calculations and Shipping Station integration for managing delivery like USPS, UPS, and FedEx. However, Shopify also partners with shipping companies for extra discounts.
Overall, Shopify Payments and Weebly Checkout offer similar credit card processing with fair rates. But Shopify has more options and potential savings on shipping. For most online sellers, the built-in solutions will cover their payment and delivery needs smoothly.
Apps, Add-Ons, and Integrations
Expanding a website’s functionality through apps and integrations is key for growth. Shopify and Weebly both offer app stores/marketplaces. But how do they compare in selection?
The Shopify App Store has over 6,000 apps for integrations like email marketing, accounting, video, slideshows, loyalty programs and more. Top apps include MailChimp, Google Analytics, Wishlists, and reviews. Any type of e-commerce app you need likely exists.
Weebly’s App Center is smaller with around 250 apps currently available. There are useful options for SEO, shipping, accounting, and email marketing via MailChimp or Constant Contact. But the selection isn’t as extensive as Shopify’s ecosystem.
Both builders allow integrating third-party apps using standard APIs. However, Shopify was built API-first, making advanced integrations quicker to build. Weebly supports APIs, yet its interface limits flexibility compared to Shopify.
For any pre-built app or unique integration, Shopify provides far more options and developer support. The vast app store is a key advantage for enhancing store functionality as you scale.
Blogging and Content Creation
Generating traffic and sales requires creating quality website content like articles, FAQs, and visual media. How do Shopify and Weebly support content creation and blogging?
Shopify isn’t designed primarily as a blogging platform, but it does allow adding a blog to any store. Posts support text, images, video embeds, SEO optimization, and sharing on social media. The blogging features are relatively basic but cover the essentials.
Weebly began as a website builder focused on blogging, so it’s quite robust for creating content-focused sites. The editor has advanced formatting options, drag-and-drop multimedia embedding, SEO tools, and 30+ blog page layout designs. However, Weebly’s themes aren’t geared specifically for product-focused stores.
For e-commerce sites needing extensive blogging capabilities, Weebly has more built-in options, templates, and flexibility. But Shopify allows basic blogging too – enough for most online stores’ content needs. So both are viable for blogging, yet Weebly excels at content creation overall.
Marketing and SEO Features
To drive traffic and boost conversions, online businesses rely on marketing tools like email, social media, and SEO. Shopify and Weebly incorporate some important built-in marketing features:
Shopify’s platform supports creating popups, custom audience segments, automatic emails/SMS, and integrated marketing metrics. But most robust email and social campaigns require integrating apps like MailChimp. SEO is facilitated via blog content, alt text, H1-H6 tagging, and sitemap integration.
Weebly also provides basic popup creation, email lists, and audience segmentation. It also includes more content marketing tools like built-in analytics, sitemaps, and SEO editor tools. But for advanced tactics, apps typically need to be added.
Overall, neither builder has an inherent advantage for marketing and SEO. The built-in tools only go so far. The wider app ecosystems and third-party integrations determine what’s possible for digital marketing. And Shopify offers a significantly wider range of marketing apps and capabilities.
Ease of Use
An online business needs reliable support in order to confidently use any e-commerce platform long-term. So how do Shopify and Weebly’s customer support compare?
Shopify offers 24/7 email and live chat support, detailed help documentation and tutorials, and an active community forum for questions and discussion. Phone support is also available starting at $19/month for the Standard plan. Paid support plans provide faster response times and one-on-one onboarding.
Weebly also provides email support, documentation, community forums, and phone contact. However, phone support requires a Business subscription starting at $25/month. Overall, Weebly’s support options appear solid but not as comprehensive as Shopify’s offerings.
For larger stores that depend on the platform, Shopify’s 24/7 live chat and paid premium support may provide more peace of mind. But both platforms offer a range of support channels to address issues that arise.
Shopify vs Weebly Pricing/Costs
Pricing often plays a major role when choosing an e-commerce platform. What monly costs are involved with Shopify and Weebly?
Shopify has a simple flat-rate SaaS pricing model. Plans range from $29 to $299/month with rates based on features. It’s straightforward – you pay your monthly fee for software access and functionality. The only potential add-on fees are:
- Payment processing (if using Shopify Payments)
- Paid apps and themes
- Optional premium support plans
Weebly has two pricing options: monthly subscriptions or annual contracts. Monthly plans span $6 to $38/month without yearly commitments. Contracts range from $144 to $432 per year. Potential extra fees include:
- Weebly Checkout payment fees
- Domain registration
- Paid apps and themes
- Premium phone support
A basic Weebly site starts cheaper at $6/month. But an advanced Shopify store with thousands of products and sales requires a $299/month Shopify plan. Weebly tops out at $38/month.
Shopify transaction fees are competitive at 2.4% + 30¢ per sale. Weebly charges slightly higher fees starting at 2.9% + 30¢.
For a new small store, Weebly is more affordable. But as you scale, Shopify’s pricing model accommodates growth better while Weebly plans max out.
So which is the better e-commerce platform – Shopify or Weebly? Here are some key conclusions based on our detailed comparison:
- Shopify offers more advanced store design capability, customization options, and e-commerce focused themes. Weebly’s simpler editor is better for beginners.
- Shopify has far superior product, inventory, and order management tools for scaling a large store. Weebly covers the basics.
- Both platforms provide integrated payment processing and shipping solutions for fast checkout. Shopify offers slightly lower transaction fees.
- Shopify’s App Store provides over 6,000 integrations to enhance store functionality. Weebly has fewer options.
- Weebly excels at building content-focused sites like blogs. Shopify allows basic blogging.
- For marketing and SEO, both builders offer starter features. Robust campaigns require apps. Shopify has more available.
- Shopify provides 24/7 live support and advanced premium options. Weebly offers email, forums, docs, and phone support.
- Weebly is cheaper for starting out under $20/month. Shopify scales better for larger stores at $29 to $299 plans.
Overall, Shopify emerges as the preferred platform for serious e-commerce stores needing advanced capabilities and customization. Shopify also offers a wider app ecosystem, robust product/order management, and strong support.
Weebly is simpler for brand new users. It can certainly power smaller online stores on a budget. But as you scale, Shopify becomes the clear winner for larger inventory, higher transaction volume, and leveraging apps for growth.
Hopefully this detailed comparison gives you a better sense of which e-commerce website builder is best for your business needs and budget!